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Eli Lilly says weight loss drug Zepbound is now available

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Posted at 3:42 PM, Dec 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-06 18:15:13-05

(WXYZ) — In today’s Health Alert, the eagerly awaited weight loss medication from Eli Lilly is now available at pharmacies. Zepbound was approved by the FDA last month for chronic weight management and helped people lose more weight than other approved weight loss drugs in clinical trials.

Tirzepatide is the main ingredient in Zepbound. It works by mimicking two hormone receptors, GIP and GLP-1. These hormones improve insulin sensitivity and help delay gastric emptying, meaning it takes longer for food to digest. This helps suppress the appetite, improves the feeling of fullness, and reduces hunger.

Now, Zepbound comes in six different doses, ranging from 2.5 milligrams to 15 milligrams. Patients inject the medicine once weekly, either in the stomach, thigh, or upper arm. They start off with lower doses and gradually increase the amount over four to twenty weeks until they reach the right amount for treatment. In clinical trials, Zepbound helped people lose over 20% of their average weight after taking higher doses for 72 weeks. That averaged out to be about 52 pounds.

To be eligible, you must be an adult and classified as obese with a BMI – body mass index – higher than 30. You’re also eligible if you’re overweight with at least one weight-related medical problem such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, heart disease, or high cholesterol levels in the blood.

Eli Lilly’s new release says they don't know if Zepbound is safe and effective when used alongside other prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, or herbal weight loss products. They also state that patients should not use Zepbound with other tirzepatide-containing products or any GLP-1 receptor agonist medicines. And that includes Ozempic and Wegovy.

As for warnings, Eli Lilly reports that Zepbound may cause tumors in the thyroid, including thyroid cancer. Other possible serious side effects include:

  • Severe stomach problems
  • Kidney problems including kidney failure
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Low blood sugar
  • Vision changes in patients with type 2 diabetes
  • Depression or thoughts of suicide and
  • Serious allergic reactions

Given these potential risks, it’s very important that people have an open discussion with their doctor to weigh the pros and cons of using this medication.

Additionally, it's worth noting that while Zepbound has proven effective for weight loss, Eli Lilly advises patients to maintain a reduced-calorie diet and increase physical activity. This means it's still important to prioritize a balanced lifestyle to keep your body healthy.